Arriving in Anchorage on Jan. 31 the Juneau Ski Club faced strong competition in the Alyeska Cup State Championships at Girdwood. They also battled jet lag and heavy snow that caused late starts and a race cancelation.
J1 and J2 skiers could not conduct the Super G qualifying speed events and J3’s reverted back to a training day that coaches and Alaska Alpine Competition Committee allowed to count as a fall back qualifier in case of snow canceling the race.
On Wednesday, Feb. 1, Alyeska Ski Club set a Super G course on the world class race hill that starts on Alyeska’s Silver Tip pitch, comes over Water Fall, and continues to the bottom.
Juneau’s Matt Vandor, Peter Peel, and Joe Greenough placed second, third, and seventh, respectively.
“Juneau’s J3 athlete’s showed the state on our first day racing we can compete with the best of them,” JSC coach Daniel Ord said.
JSC’s Shane Kelly finished fourth, first year junior athlete Cody Weldon sixth.
JSC’s Gabriella Hebert, another first year athlete posted the fastest times for the Juneau girls and finished seventh.
“It was the first time ever at Alyeska,” Ord said. “And her first time in a speed event performing this well shows there are big things to come from her and a ski racing career.”
Adrienne Audet picked her self back up after a bad crash in a training run to finish ninth in the qualifying race. Quincey Bates finished 10th and all J3 athletes accumulated World Cup Points for the State Cup.
Thursday’s (Feb. 2) huge snowfalls made the slalom races epic. Skiing under lights at night with huge snow ruts and snow still falling proved to be challenging, even for Southeast skiers. According to Ord racers skied aggressively.
Vandor started strong out of the gate only to blow out on both runs. Hebert put down a good first run but suffered a crash and a knee injury that put her out for the rest of the race series. Bates threw down a fast first run only to blow out three gates from the finish and reverting her to back of the pack for the second run.
Peel smoked his first run and then pulled a major gaff by deciding to flip through a series of gates and was disqualified. Coaches protested and video showed Peel’s boots and skis crossing the proper plane mid air and he was placed back on the start list, seeded 10th. Peel then did a JSC boy’s first by winning the second run and finished 8th overall.
Greenough, the youngest member in his age group, took an 11th against the big boys.
“Joe really let the ski’s run this race series,” Ord said. “He broke new ground as a competitor.”
Weldon, a first year J3 and one of the youngest competitors, started dead last and finished 15th overall, making the top seed cut among all skiers. Adrienne Audet skied to a solid fifth place among the J3’s and ninth overall. Naomi Moritz finished fifth for the J1 and J2 class and 10th overall.
Friday’s (Feb. 3) second slalom night again had fresh snow and ruts. Bates started with a fast run, clipped a gate feet from the finish, and rebounded to post a sixth place second run.
“Starting next to last and skiing in the worst of conditions of the night,” Ord said. “She proved she could race with the best of them.”
Audet battled out a fourth place for her age class. Moritz placed ninth, and Alexandra Hiley 12th in their respective age classes.
Peel and Weldon tumbled down the course in the fresh snow in their first runs. Vandor laid down a third place run. Greenough, Cummins and Kelly took ninth, 13th and 14th in their firsts. All made the top seeds for second runs. Peel placed second in the next run and placed second overall. Vandor blistered his run only to be disqualified for skiing over a gate. Greenough held his position. Shane Kelly took first in the J3 class and received Juneau’s first and only gold medal of the race series. Cummins finished in the top seed at 15th.
Saturday (Feb. 4) and Sunday (Feb. 5) were giant slalom races.
Vandor was first out of the start and posted the fastest time of the day, than ran a fourth in his next run to finish third overall. Peel crashed again but beat Vandor in the second run to finish third overall. Cummins lost a ski four turns down Style Hung section of the run. Greenough battled to fourth in his age class. Kelly and Weldon took sixth and 13th for J3 men.
For the women, Bates separated her shoulder on a hard crash but was able to continue the series. Audet finished fourth, Moritz eighth, and Hiley 11th in their age classes.
On Sunday Vandor ran fourth and second for a combined third finish Greenough was fifth and Kelly eighth in their age classes. Audet scored another fourth, Moritz finished the week ninth and Hiley 11th.
“The Juneau Ski Club left it all out on the table and skied their hearts out,” Ord said. “Through all the crashes, bumps, and bruises they came out heads held high.”
When the snow had cleared Vandor finished third overall in the state with Peel at fifth. Greenough finished 14th and Cummins 17th in the state. Moritz finished eighth and Hiley 13th. For J3’s, Kelly, Weldon, Audet, Bates and Hebert there are three races to go to qualify.
State champions will be awarded at Eaglecrest on Presidents Day after the JSC State Cup race series Feb. 17-20. Anchorage ski coach Kristen Brandner, a former JDHS student and Eaglecrest racer, will be bringing down Alpine racers for the competitions. Vandor and Peel have Junior Olympics invites, and Weldon, Moritz, Kelly and Audet have been invited to the Arctic Winter Games.